The 27-turbine wind farm, which could be valued at up to $126 million, is being built by sPower, a Salt Lake City-based company.
Construction crews will be racing against the clock to substantially complete the project by December, 2015 in order to meet federal timelines. Federal tax and investment incentives are a significant portion of the project.
Wind energy in the area around Monticello has been pursued for more than a decade. At one time, three companies were vying for the ability to develop the wind resource in the area. The process has been “hurry up and wait” for much of the time, as the companies pursued various incentives.
It appears as if sPower is ready to move forward with the proposed Latigo Wind Park, which was initially developed by Wasatch Wind.
The 27 turbines will be spread across three ridges immediately northwest of Monticello. The closest turbine will be less than one mile from the nearest building adjacent to town.
The towers will be 308 feet high, with the blades rising an estimated 75 additional feet above the top of the tower.
The proposed turbines will be larger than the wind turbines at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, UT and will be visible from as far away as La Sal and Cahone, CO.
Each turbine is topped with a red light, which is focused above the turbine, and will be visible from long distances.
A power line will carry the generated electricity about five miles to a large power line that is connected to the electrical grid.
The wind park is expected to produce 62.1 megawatts of power, roughly enough to power about 10,000 homes.
sPower sponsored an open house on July 9 at the Hideout Community Center in Monticello. Approximately 100 local residents attended the event, which included a large volume of information from the developers.
The majority of attendees seemed to support the project, but there were several local residents who expressed significant concerns.
Concerns expressed include the impact of the project on adjacent properties, on wildlife, on views, and on property values.
A group of 17 landowners own property on an 80-acre parcel in the middle of the proposed project. They have expressed concerns about the impact of the wind farm on their properties.
They filed a protest of the Conditional Use Permit that was issued to the project in July, 2012. The protest was withdrawn after Wasatch Wind offered a purchase option. The option, which was not exercised, expired in February, 2015.
Utah State University (USU) recently released the results of a new survey. It states that the majority of Monticello residents are supportive of wind energy development.
The USU study, entitled Citizen Perspectives on Energy Development, surveyed residents of five western communities, including Monticello. The communities are in areas where energy development projects are either proposed or are already constructed.
Of the 250 surveys sent to Monticello residents, 197 were returned. USU states that the survey provides a statistically significant wealth of information, providing “considerable confidence” that the results “accurately reflect the viewpoints and characteristics” of Monticello residents.
A copy of the study can be downloaded from this page.
Fagen Construction is sponsoring a job fair in an effort to find workers for the construction phase of the project. sPower states that up to 100 workers will be needed, and they hope that up to 50 percent of the workers will come from local sources.